Week-Long Galileo Outage Is a Cautionary Tale about Redundancy

by Henrique Rocha | 3Q 2019 | IN-5567
On July 11, 2019, in the early European afternoon, users of the Galileo Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) constellation were met with a notice of service degradation in all Galileo satellites “until further notice.” Galileo satellites had stopped providing accurate time and orbital data, without which correct location computations cannot be done. The problem persisted for an entire week, until the service was restored on the July 18. The European GNSS Agency (GSA) later pointed to an equipment malfunction in the Galileo ground infrastructure as the cause of the outage. Galileo is now in the final stages of its initial services, and thus preparing to become fully operational next year, when a number of critical timing and positioning systems will become dependent on the availability and reliability of the constellation. While it did not wreak havoc in GNSS-dependent systems, this outage event serves as a cautionary tale to companies and entire countries that lack a back-up plan for when our trusty satellite systems fail us.

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